Training and Care — Tip Of The Week
Excerpt from Our New
Australian Shepherd Lover's Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care
Separation Anxiety Urination
This problem is particularly common with puppies, and many dogs will grow out of it on their own as they become more confident. You might think your dog has a problem if she stresses out over being left alone, but it’s completely natural. Remember, in the wild, dogs live in packs. They aren’t used to being alone, because in the wild if a pack animal ends up alone, death is probably not far away. So isolation is scary for a dog.
To solve this problem, you’ll need to refer to the tips in two sections of this book: the section on Separation Anxiety, which we’ll cover later in this chapter, and the information on crate training in Chapter 5.
Why “Rubbing Her Nose In It” Is The Worst Idea
When it comes to “accidents” in the house, many owners resort to using a well-known but highly ineffective technique – taking the dog to the mess on the floor, and rubbing her nose in it. Not only is this not a good way to stop your dog having accidents, this can actually make the problem worse (especially if the problem is caused by anxiety or submissiveness). Here’s why.
Remember what we said earlier – a dog will associate any reward or punishment with what she just did. If you come home and find a mess on the carpet, it might have happened two hours earlier. So if you then go and rub the dog’s nose in it, she will have no idea that she’s actually being punished for the mess. She won’t even understand what she did wrong. She’ll just think she has a crazy owner who lashes out and does cruel things for no apparent reason, making her afraid of you.
Not only that, but it will mean she’ll try to hide her toileting from you. She’ll be less likely to go when you’re around, for fear of having her face rubbed in it. The result? She’s more likely to hold on until you leave the house or go to another room, and then you’re more likely to end up with another mess inside.
The key with housetraining is to correct the dog when she does the wrong thing by rushing her outside when she starts going to the toilet inside. Punishing an accident is pointless. Toilet training is taught by reinforcing the right way to do it, not punishing the wrong way. More on this in Chapter 5.
Last Tips on Toileting Problems
Please bear in mind that toileting issues can be an early warning sign of various diseases. If you have any doubt at all, take your dog to a vet. There’s no point treating a disease as if it’s a behavioural problem – you can’t fix it with training, and you may be putting your dog’s life at risk by delaying a visit to the vet.
Next time: Excessive Barking
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